“Corpse from the Sky” was written by J. Murray Crouch and published by Gulliver Books, in 1950.
The book is a 128-page digest-paperback that features artwork that is both not credited and has zero to do with the content(s) of the novel.
This is part of their short-lived Skyscraper Books series, which featured only one other known novel, “The Dead Are So Dumb,” by Leslie Cargill; he churned out over a dozen thrillers during a 15-year span.
Other books noted (on the rear cover) include the following series:
- Starlight Westerns
- Kismet Romances
- It Really Happened!
Our author appears to be Joseph Murray Crouch, born possibly in 1912, Newport and died 1997 in Croydon, Surrey. (Perhaps one day a family-member will read this blog and contribute something further). Come 1940, I found online that he was in the Royal Artillery, and by 1943, he was married on the Isle of Man. At some point, Mr. Crouch was involved with the Intelligence Corps. To my knowledge, this is his only literary contribution. I would surmise that he attempted to translate some of his life experiences into writing this murder – mystery novel.
Here, a man is dumped out of an airplane. The large body slams into the buildings before slithering to the ground, nearly at the feet of a detective. The coincidences and poor ability of the author to create any sense of suspense is further shattered when a lovely young lady enters his office. She is Denise, daughter and heir to Arthur Vanrietz’s fortunes. Inexplicably, we learn that her father, Arthur, had suggested to her to seek out this particular detective, in the event that he is dead. No connection is even given to explain why Arthur should want this particular detective.
So, now we have an unidentified corpse (landing literally at the feet of the detective) and a young lovely lady hiring him to look for her murdered father. She is certain that he is dead, after all. A silly assumption. Our detective, Mr. Bartle, sends her to the local police and while there, she learns of the dropped body, identifies it as her father, returns to Bartle, and tells all. He’s immediately on the case.
Traveling out to the family castle, he meets all sorts of villainous residents. There is no need to travel down the well-worn path to explain that the butler is always given the evil slant (in fact, he served time once) and that the rest are equally unscrupulous.
In the end, Bartle, whom hasn’t a damned clue who the murderer really is, but secretly speculates, has everyone in the lounge and exposes everything he knows, then, absurdly, states that the (secret) half-brother had the best motive for murder and is indeed the crafty butcher whom has murdered every other person throughout the novel.
Without any basis or proof, the half-brother whips out a gun and tries to effect his escape. Why? There was no proof! he could have sat there all day and laughed.
The novel ends practically on that note. No romantic conclusion. The girl, we are given to understand, is romantically involved with the only other person in the castle that appears to have a relatively clean slate. The half-brother is tackled, cuffed, and arrested, and Bartle turns away in disgust, because he can’t stand the sight of persons placed under arrest.
Honestly, the novel had me utterly flummoxed, as I hoping that the otherwise juvenile construction and plot would suddenly explode ingeniously into a ripe thriller. Imagine my disappointment….